Friday, April 24, 2015
It's that je ne sais quoi pleasantness that, while other cars can surely get me from point A to point B, certain ones have that make me all warm and fuzzy. I can't be the only one who has that, right?
One ride that has long been on that short list for me is the Toyota Highlander. I've never owned one, I've never ridden in one, I've barely even peeked inside one at a dealership once, but yet, the Highlander has always been one of my favorite vehicles around. Crazy, right?
I wondered if I wasn't a bit of a dreamer myself until I recently had the chance to put all of my preconceived notions to the test and find out the true awesomeness of the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited.
When making our plans to head down to Florida for a recent family vacation, I knew that having a reliable, versatile SUV would make life easier on so many levels. Room for seven passengers, a push button engine start, a powerful entertainment system, an easy to use navigation system, a rearview camera and much, much more?
Clearly I was already impressed (and a bit in love) with the Toyota Highlander, but then this gorgeous vehicle was mine for a week and all I could do was swoon.
Available in a variety of different colors, seeing the Highlander in this vibrant Nautical Blue Metallic (which is brighter than it appears in the above photo) was the perfect combination for the athletic look and flowing lines of this upscale automobile.
No matter which angle I chose, this SUV was giving off the impression that it was fun to drive and was ready to go anywhere and everywhere that I would choose. From the Hybrid Synergy Drive system to the 19-in. Chromtec alloy wheels to the Roof Rail Cross Bars — this car had it all!
And that was only the outside! Once I climbed in and had a view of the interior, I continued to be impressed with all that Toyota had included. The contrast of the Almond Perforated Leather (also available in black and ash) was sleek and attractive against against the black dash, chrome and trim.
At the same time, the Running Boards made it easy to get in and out of this larger vehicle and the extremely comfortable front seats were plush and soft. Plus, not only were the front seats heated (the second row Captain's Chairs were as well!) but ventilated! Here in the Midwest where it gets freezing in the winter and steaming in the summer, having the ability to cool or heat the seats would be amazing!
Plus, Toyota not only included just about every convenience possible, but I love that the Highlander has them all within reach.
The multi-level storage console/armrest opens various different ways to access its compartments; there is a USB port and handy shelf below the dash so that we can charge our tech with ease; a multitude of controls are located right on the (heated!) steering wheel so you never have to reach for them; all of the gauges are large, clear and easy to read; and more!
Passengers in the second row are pampered almost just as much, as their Captain's Chairs provide spacious room (even with a car seat or booster seat), a center console/cup holder flips up and down for convenience, and they control their own heating and cooling.
When you have more than four passengers, the third row in the Toyota Highlander is surprisingly roomy (although it gets a little tight when three adults are squeezed back there), particularly if the second row seats are moved forward a bit.
Or, by simply folding down the third row (all three or a 60/40 split), this SUV provides a huge amount of storage and transport space for just about any cargo you could find!
Along with all this space and comfort, Toyota didn't skimp on quality, power and safety in the Highlander Hybrid. The overall ride is extremely comfortable and the steering is smooth and light. Even the hum of the engine is super quiet but still pleasing!
For help getting around, the navigation system gives you turn by turn directions, the backup camera aids in backing or parallel parking, and the Blind Spot Monitor (I adore this feature!) gives you an alert if there is a car hiding on either side when you go to change lanes.
After a week of driving the Toyota Highlander around Florida, I had a difficult time saying goodbye to it. It provided great gas mileage for an SUV (27 city and 28 highway), kept my family very safe with a stellar Advanced Airbag System and ventilated disc brakes, and there wasn't a single complaint about lack of legroom or space.
Besides, who had time to complain when we were too busy reveling in things like having the weather right at our fingertips and the entire sunny sky right out the gorgeous panoramic moonroof?
In short, I couldn't have been much happier with the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited and being able to really give it a good test drive has only increased my love for it. I want to hop in for every upcoming journey!
No matter if you are running errands around town or piling in for an adventure cross-country, the Highlander drives well, looks amazing, and is a great choice for families. The Hybrid Limited model is at the very top of the line (with an MSRP starting at $49,990), but there are four other models that start at $29,665 to fit a variety of needs and budgets.
You can find out lots more about this incredible vehicle by visiting the Toyota website and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Other than the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited that I was provided in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about how much I loved driving this SUV and dream of owning one for myself.